Lawmakers Claim Deception On Horse Racing

Amid claims of “duping” among some members, the Idaho Legislature could put slot machine betting on horse races near the finish line.

In a story posted by the DAILY PAPER, Rep. Gayle Batt of Wilder told the House State Affairs Committee some members felt duped by advocates of the so-called “video terminals displaying historical horse races.”

Even before they left the gate, the GUARDIAN pointed out the devices are nothing more than slot machines which are outlawed by the Idaho constitution. We have yet to find a believable explanation proving the machines are actually part of a “pari mutuel” betting pool which doesn’t bet against the house. Rooms filled with adults drinking booze betting on slot machines also have a strong hint of “casino style gambling” which is unconstitutional in Idaho.

A 2014 Attorney General Opinion seems to define slots and video gambling in a manner which would make the Les Bois project illegal.

Ada commishes approved the plan of private operator Treasure Valley Racing to install 200 of the slot machines at the county-owned Les Boise Park, claiming they had no reason to deny the request since the legislature passed a bill last session approving the machines which claim to be pari mutual betting terminals.

Treasure Valley Racing claims they need 200 machines and expanded hours at the venue to make a profit.

Now it seems legislators who have to approve the rules of the game are betting against video horse races. The house denied the gaming, with some members claiming they were told only 50 of the electronic devices would be installed, not the 200 approved by the Ada board. Rep. Batt also said she had concern about the machines once she say they were not the same as the ones previously displayed.

To us, it looks like the lawmakers didn’t do their homework, trusted a special interest which promised jobs and tax revenues, and got duped in the process. The Ada Commishes had the chance to raise the constitutional issue, but stepped aside.

At this point, slot machine gambling on thousands of old video horse races is anything but a sure bet.

Here is the CONSTITUTION applicable section:

Section 20. GAMBLING PROHIBITED. (1) Gambling is contrary to public policy and is strictly prohibited except for the following:
a. A state lottery which is authorized by the state if conducted in conformity with enabling legislation; and
b. Pari-mutuel betting if conducted in conformity with enabling legislation; and
c. Bingo and raffle games that are operated by qualified charitable organizations in the pursuit of charitable purposes if conducted in conformity with enabling legislation.
(2) No activities permitted by subsection (1) shall employ any form of casino gambling including, but not limited to, blackjack, craps, roulette, poker, bacarrat, keno and slot machines, or employ any electronic or electromechanical imitation or simulation of any form of casino gambling.
(3) The legislature shall provide by law penalties for violations of this section.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Frankenstein Government
    Jan 29, 2014, 10:14 am

    Not only am I an avid horse racing fan, but I know the history of these machines.

    The reality is- they are an attempt to circumvent existing law- however they actually do use existing and historically accurate horse races to achieve results.

    Having said all of that- most of the smaller horseracing venues like ours have had to install supplementary gambling to stay solvent. From Canterbury to Mountaineer.

    The elephant in the room of course is taxes. If the state would simply suspend all of its egregious taxes on parimutuel racing we would be fine.

    The state of Idaho wants its giant share of taxes and other legally mandated charges- but then it wants to kneecap the ability of anyone to make a profit.

    The net net? Big deal. Let the machines stay. You have a legal lottery which is the greatest gambling theft ever conceived. I don’t hear anybody whining about that con job passed by the legislature and sold to the taxpayers as some “remedy” for schools. The lottery provides absolute chump change with regard to what is actually gambled.

  2. Legislature has more important issues to address! Leave this one alone and let them have their little machines.. We don’t care

  3. isn’t that a little like the pot calling the kettle black?

  4. Grumpy ole guy
    Jan 29, 2014, 4:11 pm

    Another example of the need for core competency requirements in reading comprehension to graduate from Idaho high schools.

  5. Rod in SE Boise
    Jan 31, 2014, 12:40 pm

    Sounds like these machines are similar to slot machines at some Indian casinos that are based on some sort of bingo calculation to decide if you win or lose. The government has no business regulating gambling, alcoholic beverages, pot, or pretty much anything that people do or don’t do.

    EDITOR NOTE–I tend to agree, but when it is done on a government-owned facility like LES BOIS PARK, we should have a voice in how our land and building is being used.

  6. Hey they leased it to the operator and barring anything saying they can’t do it in the lease or it is illegal I would say leave them alone and let the fools who think they can beat a machine have a go at it. At least they won’t be out driving around causing trouble.

  7. Interested Citizen
    Feb 4, 2014, 7:09 am

    Is the Idaho Lottery somehow better than slots, casinos, or a host of other forms of gambling?????

    If so, why?????

    You are assured of losing money the more you play!!!!

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: